Call it what you will – resistance, pushback, challenge, opposition – it’s basically an opposing force that slows or stops movement. Anyone in leadership, be it parenting, teaching, directing a government agency or pastoring a church, should come to expect resistance. Resistance is everywhere!
It is important to NOT be surprised when resistance emerges. In fact, it is an element in the process of leadership that we should welcome. Welcome it, then learn how to handle it correctly.
All of us resist at times. It’s a way of protecting ourselves from real or perceived danger, most notably when change is unfolding. In and of itself, resistance is not a bad thing. It’s merely energy. If we can effectively redirect this energy we can move the resistance in the direction of change.
The first signal resistance sends to my mind is ‘I don’t like this change. In fact, I don’t like ANY change!’.
The second thing resistance signals is ‘OK, I can tolerate some change, but you’re going too fast’. When we receive the signal – whatever it is – it’s up to us to determine what the signal means.
Resistance signals issues that are lurking underneath the surface and that are tapping into our most deeply held values. That’s one of the great benefits of resistance and why we don’t hesitate to call it our ally.
Resistance is our ally because it lets us know that there is something important on in our life, our leadership, or both. It lets us know something needs to change and that change will be for the better.